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Presse Med. 2014 Oct;43(10 Pt 2):e279-91. doi: 10.1016/j.lpm.2014.03.029. Epub 2014 Aug 29.

Gastrointestinal involvement in systemic sclerosis.

Author information

1
Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Surgery, Oncology and Gastroenterology, University of Padua, Padua, Italy. Electronic address: edoardo.savarino@unipd.it.
2
Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Genoa, Genoa, Italy.
3
Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy.
4
Division of Internal Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Genoa, Genoa, Italy.

Abstract

Systemic sclerosis is an autoimmune chronic disease characterised by microvascular, muscular and immunologic abnormalities that lead to progressive and systemic deposition of connective tissue in the skin and internal organs. The gastrointestinal tract is often overlooked by physicians but it is the most affected organ after the skin, from the mouth to the anus. Indeed, 80% of SSc patients may present with gastrointestinal involvement. Gastrointestinal manifestations range from bloating and heartburn to dysphagia and anorectal dysfunction to severe weight loss and malabsorption. However, the gastrointestinal involvement is rarely the direct cause of death, but has great impact on quality of life and leads to several comorbidities that subsequently affect patients' survival. Treatments, including nutritional support and prokinetics provide limited benefits and do not arrest the progressive course of the disease, but earlier detection of gastrointestinal involvement may reduce the risk of complications such as malnutrition.

PMID:
25179275
DOI:
10.1016/j.lpm.2014.03.029
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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